Former USC Basketball Great Bill Sharman Passes Away
Oct. 25, 2013
Former USC basketball All-American Bill Sharman, an NBA champion as both a player and coach, passed away at his home in Redondo Beach, Calif., today (Oct. 25) at the age of 87.
Sharman was a four-year letterwinner at Troy from 1947-50 and still ranks among the all-time top 25 in scoring at USC. Sharman was named All-America in 1950 and was a two-time All-Pacific Coast Conference selection and conference MVP. A 1950 All-American forward at USC, Sharman scored 1108 points in 81 games for a then school-record 13.7 per game average. He was selected as the 1950 Trojan team captain and Most Valuable Player and the 1949 Most Inspirational Player. He also played two seasons for the USC baseball team (1949-50) before signing a professional contract with the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Sharman, known as "Bullseye Bill" for his marksmanship at the foul line, played baseball briefly in the Dodgers' organization before his basketball career took off. In 10 seasons with the Boston Celtics, he was named All-NBA first team four times and played in eight All-Star Games, earning MVP honors in the 1955 tilt. He teamed with Bob Cousy to form one of the NBA's most formidable backcourt duos, and the pair landed Boston four NBA Championships.
He later became a standout coach, directing the Los Angeles Lakers to their first NBA title in 1972 and was awarded Coach of the Year honors. That season, the Lakers finished with an amazing 69-13 regular season record, including 33 straight victories, an NBA single-season record. By winning titles in the ABL with Cleveland, ABA with Utah and NBA with the Lakers, Sharman became the first coach to win championships in three different pro leagues. Sharman joined John Wooden and Lenny Wilkens as the only members enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame as a player and a coach.
Sharman was inducted into the Pac-12 Hall of Honor in 2002 and was a member of USC's inaugural Athletics Hall of Fame class in 1994. He had his No. 11 USC jersey retired and hoisted into the Galen Center rafters for display on Jan. 13, 2007.
Sharman is survived by his wife Joyce, sons Jerry and Tom; daughters Nancy Scott and Janice Hand; six grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.